MANILA - “It is okay not to be okay,” a psychiatrist said Sunday as the country continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic for more than a year now.
Dr. Ma. Bernadette Arcena, who also attends to patients’ mental health in COVID-19 wards, shared how the pandemic has been taking a toll on the public.
“Life is really so short. Kailangan ang mindset mo d'yan, be careful and focus on things that you can control. Kasi hindi mo mako-control yung COVID. Hindi natin kayang kontrolin ang spread ng pandemic. Pero we can control the spread within our family, kasi importante na ikaw mismo you are safe," she said in an online forum.
(Life is really so short. Your mindset should be that you must be careful and focus on things that you can control. Because you can't control COVID, the spread of the pandemic. But we can control the spread within our family, because what's important is that you are safe.)
Arcena urges the public to lessen screen time on social media, and instead strengthen family bonding at home.
The expert advised that family members should look after each other and be wary of sudden changes in behavior such as lack of appetite, prolonged periods of sadness, sleeplessness and anxiety.
“If we feel we are alone, that's when depression will set in, and you will want to die. Kaya importante na kapit lang. 'Pag feel niyo may kamag-anak na nasa-sad, tulungan niyo na agad. It has to be stopped right away para yung thought processing, hindi siya magtuloy-tuloy na papangit. Importante ang family bonding,” she said.
(If we feel we are alone, that's when depression will set in, and you will want to die. So it's important to hold tight. When you feel there's a relative who's sad you, need to help them. It has to be stopped right away so that their thought-processing don't worsen. Family bonding is important.)
“Meron tayong psychosocial treatments or talk therapy, kung kailangan or necessary na you're going to talk to the psychologist or psychiatrist."
(There are psychosocial treatments or talk therapy if needed, where you're going to talk to the psychologist or psychiatrist.)
The National Center for Mental Health is open for teleconsultations with the following numbers: 0917 899-USAP (8727); 0966-351-451; 0908-639-2672.